29
Jun 09

Car stereo

Dear next-door-but-one neighbour’s boyfriend

I know you are a jobless, state-scrounging, part-time drug-dealing loser, whose only redeeming feature is that you actually visit your child once or twice per week – which I presume sets you apart from the majority of your state-scrounging, jobless, drug-dealing contemporaries – this is a message for you. Of which I know you won’t take heed, even in the extremely unlikely event you were to stumble across this blog. But this is a cathartic exercise, because there are many others like you.

The so-called music that you play from you car stereo at astonishing volumes cannot possibly be heard properly due to the extremely bottom-heavy EQ configuration of the system.

I can only assume this is why you keep turning the volume up even higher.

Sadly this has the effect of making your car – and the surrounding houses -vibrate more, rather than allowing you to hear your so-called music more clearly.

In fact, acousticians will tell you that the sonic coupling of your loudspeaker to the chassis of your car effectively turns your car into a loudspeaker in itself.

This is unfortunate, because your car was designed as a car, not a loudspeaker, which is why certain constituent sounds within the music cause your car to vibrate with great resonance.

In sciency terms, this is known as your car’s resonant frequency.

Not only does this acoustic phenomenon cause your music to sound even more unattractive, it also enrages your neighbours, especially when they are trying to work.

My sash windows also have a resonant frequency. For future reference, please avoid playing music in the keys of Eb, C minor, and preferably G minor and Bb major, if you can possibly help it.

After three years of showing up in your flashy convertible (mostly Sundays but randomly on weekdays too), I would have thought you may have identified at least one of these socio-acoustic problems.

Yours faithfully,

Your girlfriend’s next-door-but-one neighbour.


29
Jun 09

The London Foxtrot

The London Foxtrot
Once per day, usually between the hours of midnight and 3am, I sit on the front step outside my house in a busy suburb of London to get some ‘air’.
This summer has been unusually warm so far, with long spans of hot temperatures starting as early as late April.
In the 5 minutes it takes for me to finish this ‘air’ one usually sees 3-5 cars passing through the nearby junction, fifty percent of which have noisy radios or noisy exhausts. Three out of seven days during this 5 minute period I will watch a pizza delivery moped pass by, with its customary “L” plate denoting the fact the driver is a perpetual learner, presumably with no intention of ever taking a test. 2 in 3 times a passer-by will walk past. One in about 20 times the passer-by will ask me something. (Usually such people are to be ignored, because they are rude or scary in some small way.) Once, whilst I was sitting outside on the telephone, a man on the opposite side of the road shouted over asking me for a cigarette. I didn’t respond because I was deep in conversation, and he crossed over and shouted “hey, I’m talking to you”. He swore. I pointed at the phone to indicate I was busy talking, and he became verbal abusive. I explained firmly that he could see I was talking on the phone, but he swore at me and asked who the hell I thought I was to ignore him.
This year, foxes pass me by. Foxes always walk trot elegantly and quickly along the street from my left to my right. About a third of the way into my view, they clock me, stop as still as the night itself and stare. We exchange quizzical stares for five to ten seconds, dead still. About 5 seconds into the stare I raise my eyebrow. During this summer, this chain of events happens every time I go outside.
Why do foxes trot?

 

Once per day, usually between the hours of midnight and 3am, I sit on the front step outside my house in a busy part of London to get some ‘air’.

This summer has been unusually warm so far, with long spans of hot temperatures starting as early as late April.

In the 5 minutes it takes for me to finish this ‘air’ one usually sees 3-5 cars passing through the nearby junction, fifty percent of which have noisy radios or noisy exhausts. Three out of seven days during this 5 minute period I will watch a pizza delivery moped pass by, with its customary “L” plate denoting the fact the driver is a perpetual learner, presumably with no intention of ever taking a test. 2 in 3 times a passer-by will walk past. One in about 20 times the passer-by will ask me something. (Usually such people are to be ignored, because they are rude or scary in some small way.) Once, whilst I was sitting outside on the telephone, a man on the opposite side of the road shouted over asking me for a cigarette. I didn’t respond because I was deep in conversation, and he crossed over and shouted “hey, I’m talking to you”. He swore. I pointed at the phone to indicate I was busy talking, and he became verbally abusive. I explained, with a robust tone of voice, that he could see I was talking on the phone, but he swore at me and asked who the hell I thought I was to ignore him.

This year, foxes pass me by. Foxes always walk trot elegantly and quickly along the street from my left to my right. About a third of the way into my view, they clock me, stop as still as the night itself and stare. We exchange quizzical stares for five to ten seconds, dead still. About 5 seconds into the stare I raise my eyebrow. During this summer, this chain of events happens every time I go outside.

Why do foxes trot?

Why is it generally considered okay in prose to mix digits with the number written out in text, seemingly randomly?

11
Jun 09

BT vs BBC: an exercise in confusing service providers' responsibilities with those of content providers

So much for the democratisation of the internet.

So BT (British Telecom) in their infinite rational wisdom have admitted to throttling bandwidth of connections to the BBC iPlayer.

Fine. The customer purchases a service from a company with insufficient infrastructure to cope with the normal web use of today, and the service provider limits the customer’s usage of their service in this respect. Customers are free to take their business elsewhere: free market and all. I mean, it’s obviously wrong that BT have not been upfront to their customers about limiting the service they provide, but I am presuming they haven’t broken the terms of their contracts with customers.

But they didn’t stop there. A spokesperson for BT added that BBC should shoulder the cost for access to their iPlayer service.

Excuse me?

It’s kind of like BT are blaming the BBC for providing content to their customers. Sure, the BBC iPlayer creates traffic on their network, in the same way that any kind of web usage does. But that’s why the customer is purchasing a service. Paying money. For a service.

The logical conclusion to this would be for every ISP to charge every single company who owns a website that is used by a member of the public with internet. Which is clearly ridiculous.

It’s one thing to secretly limit the service without telling customers, it’s another thing to somehow claim that the companies who provide this content are somehow to blame!

What is that about? Is it a marketing exercise to somehow deflect from the fact BT’s infrastructure cannot cope with the usage levels of their customers? What has that got to do with the BBC?

More to the point, though, BT also admit to prioritising the service levels pertaining to usage of BBC iPlayer to customers who pay more.

This further underlines how wrong they are to claim BBC should fit the bill. If a customer pays more, they can have a less-restricted service. If the level of service they can provide to their customers is proportional to how much the customer pays and has no bearing on whether content providers like BBC pay money to BT, surely this further proves the issue is one of service level agreements between customer and ISP?

I’ve yet to read if spokespersons for other major UK ISPs have jumped on the bandwagon, but my guess is that most other ISPs would sensibly assume they cannot pull the wool over their customers’ eyes in that way.

If anyone has a good analogy that adequately sums-up how amusing and ridiculous this is, I would love to hear it.